Smart people saying smart things

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First of all, Grayson Perry. In the New Statesman. Mandatory reading for anyone interested in gender studies; or class studies, or identity studies.

“When we talk of identity, we often think of groups such as black Muslim lesbians in wheelchairs. This is because identity only seems to become an issue when it is challenged or under threat. Our classic Default Man is rarely under existential threat; consequently, his identity remains unexamined. It ambles along blithely, never having to stand up for its rights or to defend its homeland.”

Then, a series of interesting reactions to UKIP winning the by-election in Clacton:

First, a Fabians report on “Labour’s UKIP Problem” and how it can be overcome; by Marcus Roberts, with research from Ian Warren and Rob Ford (No, NOT the mayor of Toronto, the academic from Manchester who wrote “Revolt On The Right”!).

“There are five critical and high-risk seats under direct threat by UKIP, for both Labour and the Conservatives each:

• Labour seats under direct UKIP threat: Great Grimsby, Dudley North, Plymouth Moor View, Rother Valley, Rotherham

• Con seats under direct UKIP threat: Clacton, South Thanet, Thurrock, Great Yarmouth, Waveney”
IPPR’s Alice Sachrajada: UKIP argue that the UK needs to ‘get back control of its borders’ and should limit ‘the overall numbers of migrants’. Their main vehicle for doing so is leaving the EU, coupled with even tighter controls on non EU migrants. Whatever the merits of these policies – and at IPPR we’re convinced they would damage the UK’s national interests – reducing immigration in such ways would not, in the short to medium term, necessarily reduce the impacts of immigration.”
And finally, William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), on why Europe needs to make immigration easier
“The high-road scenario for migration has to start with a fundamental shift in perceptions; we need to correct the myths and misconceptions that surround migration, and so restore public confidence in governments’ ability to manage migration effectively. That means we need to reaffirm that discrimination and violence against migrants is intolerable. Above all, perhaps, we must create recognition of the overwhelmingly positive contribution migrants have made throughout history by launching an open dialogue about the role of migration in contemporary societies.”

The most pro-Europe and Euroskeptic constituencies; who takes most advantage of the ‘European Citizen’ experience?

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This post on Constituency Opinion reminded me, in many ways, of a personal research experience: doing the fieldwork for the EUCROSS survey; with Romanian immigrants living in London. The study looked at how we experience being European citizens (and members of a multicultural society) in everyday life: how likely we are, for instance, to have friends of a different nationality than others, to enjoy food and music not from our home country, to travel for work/study/leisure; and how this intersects with attitudes towards the EU and with variables such as class and nationality.

Now, let’s look first at the Constituency Opinion data:

The most pro-European constituencies are:

1. Hornsey and Wood Green; MP Lynne Featherstone- Lib Dem safe seat
2. Bristol West; MP Stephen Williams, Lib Dem safe seat
3. Edinburgh North and Leith, Labour/Lib Dem marginal, current MP Mark Lazarowicz, Labour
4. Manchester Withington again Labour/Lib Dem marginal, current MP John Leech, Lib Dems
5. Edinburgh South again Labour/Lib Dem marginal, current MP Ian Murray, Labour, elected with a majority of just 316 votes.
6. Islington North, MP Jeremy Corbyn, Labour safe seat
7. Battersea, Conservative/Labour marginal, MP Jane Ellison, Conservative
8. Islington South and Finsbury; Labour/Lib Dem marginal, current MP Emily Thornberry, Labour
9. Hackney North and Stoke Newington;
MP Diane Abbot, Labour safe seat.

10. Streatham; MP Chuka Umunna, Labour safe seat

So, let’s keep a tally:

Constituencies: 6 in London, 2 in Edinburgh, 1 Manchester, 1 Bristol; so overwhelmingly urban.

MP’s: 5 labour, 3 lib dems, 1 tory, no tory safe seats; (also, interestingly, 4 women, 6 men- which is better gender parity than the UK parliament ever had, and 2 MP’s are non-white/ethnic minority.) Trends are easily visible: pro European constituencies vote Lib Dem and Labor, but with the exception of Battersea, not Conservative.

Now let’s look at the opposite end- the most Euroskeptic constituencies.

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Theory collage: whiskey, ladettes and Thornstein Veblen

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I am starting a new blog project/category: “theory collages”; in which I am putting together socially meaningful images we encounter in daily life; with quotes from sociologists/anthropologists/social theorists; and let them speak for themselves.

So here we go, today I give you Thorstein Veblen.

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The quote is from Veblen’s “The Theory of the Leisure Class”, first published in 1899; which you can read here.

Monday Graph: The Scottish Independence Referendum and the collapse of the Conservative vote in Scotland

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Well here we are, just 3 days lef to the Scottish Independence Referendum. Just until last month, it looked like the “Yes” vote was hardly approaching 40%, let alone stand any chance. Then September came and suddenly the possibility looks much more real; with that one Sunday Times Poll showing the Yes Campaign taking the lead with 51%; followed by two Survation and one ICM/Guardian polls indicating the No Campaign is back ahead- but only by an ever-so-slightly margin. (You can track Independence Referendum poll results here)

So, in other words…

How did we get here? A thought-provoking article on the Economist’s ‘Graphic Detail’ blog suggests that “An energetic campaign by the nationalists over the past months is one explanation. But the underlying causes go back much further. They lie in long-term shifts in the Scottish electoral landscape.”

Let’s look at the graphs published by the Economist:

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